|Dani Andrada putting up a new route in L’Olla|
A week ago we (Pascal and I) got the message that our visa application for the US was approved! Because we are waiting so long now, we decided very quickly to move end of this month. We had to decide what to do with our last weeks. The most important thing on our list was to climb one more time on European rock! Germany, Belgium and France, the closest areas, were to cold. The choice was easy… fly the Spain and visit Siurana. Blue skies and sunny 16 degree weather. We left on Wednesday evening, and got back at Sunday morning. That gave us three days to climb!
Since a few months I’ve been playing with the idea to climb my first 8a. My goal is to climb that grade before the end of April, because I want to continue the line of progress with one grade up every year. I never tried an 8a yet, and it had to happen on this trip because April is approaching rapidly.
The first day we went to a sector called L’Olla. We knew there had to be tufa’s, something we enjoy! We were not the only ones at the sector. Dani Andrada was putting up a new route in the impressive bulge on the left side of the sector. Pete O’Donovan, publisher of guidebooks, was taking pictures and the Japanese Tatsuya Kiyosawa was working in his project Pota d’Elefant (7c+).
After our struggle, we belayed Tatsuya in his project and he did it! He was super happy to climb his first 7c+ of his climbing career. After this great moment, we decided to take a look at Siuranelle Sud. L’Olla was to bouldery on pockets in overhang for us. After walking for thirty minutes it became obvious we took the wrong path (a recurring problem we always encounter). Back at the road we figured out that it was probably easier to go to Can Piqui Pugui. Lost again! Our last option for the day was to drive to the biggest parking at Siurana and walk within 3 seconds to the rock :). That worked out for us and we picked a 7a route. After that one it was time for beers!
|Tatsuya Kiyosawa has finished his project!|
Day two we purchased a better guidebook (by David Brascó and Natalia Campillo) instead of the small guide Guia D’Escalades a Siurana by Toni Arbonés and Mariam Caravaca. This made it a lot easier to find the well-marked path to Siuranella Sud and there it was: La Crema, 8a. The route I wanted to try. After warming up in a nice 6b+ called Like a Cuc I started to work on the route. WOW! Amazing cool moves, exactly my style. The first part (a little bit bouldery) went easy, but I got pumped after a few meters. Then I got to the first crux that, after a rest, went well. Continuing on nice crimps I arrived at the top part. A grey bump without holds, only a very sharp sloper. I tried the passage a couple of times but didn’t find the confidence (leading is sometimes still exciting) and couldn’t manage to do the moves. After this passage it was an easy topout. I decided to try it toprope after Pascal tried the route. Got pumped again and couldn’t finish it. I couldn’t even try the crux anymore due to my skin (gone). Such a bummer because it is one of the most fantastic routes I’ve ever tried, but the crux at the top was to hard for me!
The last climbing day we went to Can Pigui Pugui (we found it this time) and Esperó Primavera. In the first sector we tried only one route: Tapbioles I Pirretes,7a. When I came at the difficult part of the route, (pockets and overhang) I couldn’t climb further. I noticed some blood at the wall, watched my fingers and saw the problem. To sharp and to hard for me. Luckily Pascal could do these moves, but again we decided to change plans. This was (again) not our style of climbing. When we arrived at Esperó Primavera I saw immediately a beautiful line. Someone was climbing it and oh my god it looked awesome. It turned out that this route was 7b+, called Mandrágora. After the first five meters I blocked. Pumped (haha again) and couldn’t figure out what to do. I got some tips from the guy that climbed it before me and it turned out that I had to make a big supercool crossover (one of my favorite movements). After that I had to climb further, but it was hard to avoid a wrong foot position in relation to the rope and there I stood: crimping a small hold on the left and I had to change my foot position. I did, clipped, hung in the rope and blocked. Oh my god! My nerves! Everybody on the ground was happy because I managed to climb the hardest part but I didn’t dare to climb further, even though they said it was much more easier from there. I came down and Pascal tried but the route didn’t fit his style. I had renewed confidence and went again and finished the rest of the route with a few blocks. Such an awesome route! Still a little bit sad that I couldn’t send it. We concluded our trip at L’Aparador where Pascal chose Rauxa, 7a+. The style of this route was totally different from the other routes at Siurana. It consisted of cracks, overhang and corners. I was frozen but couldn’t resist to climb this last route toprope after Pascal. I’m glad I did, because this was also a really nice route!
|Mandrágora (right line)|
We had three fantastic days of climbing in great weather and Siurana offered many different climbing styles (including my favorite!) I really want to go back there some day and climb more of these beautiful routes and finish my new projects 😀